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Year In Search 2019: Google Guide’s Top Travel Trends



Thanks to the internet, traveling has never been easier. Whether you’re listing down your top travel destination or looking out for the next place to visit, you can have all your options with just one click of a search button. 

In fact, the world’s leading search engine has released its most searched travel destination for 2019. Google’s algorithm works by identifying the changes in travel searches every year. In this way, they were able to identify the top trending destination. 

So what made it into the top five trending places for this year? 

  • Maldives

What makes the Maldives so enticing is that it gives you a sense of sweet escape. Whether you might want to run off and trade cold winters for a warm and sunny holiday or simply looking for a place to get away from stress, this small Asian nation is known for its relaxed tropical vibe. A trip to the island is about being able to take a step back and enjoy the calm and serenity of its azure waters and white sandy beaches. 

However, the island’s warm and peaceful vibe might not come as cheap. In fact, a night at the Conrad Maldives Rangali which boasts the world’s first over-water villa and underwater bedroom can cost as much $38,000. Even its low-season bed and breakfast daily rate would be around $10,000- making it pretty much a steal. 

For this year, the top searches in terms of accommodation go to the Kudadoo Maldives and Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. 

  • Japan

Whether you might be looking for a gastronomic journey in Tokyo or exploring its soft side with street-filled cherry blossoms and quiet temples, Japan is surely gaining a lot of attraction. 

In fact, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has announced last September that the country hosts the second-highest growth in international tourism receipts. 

  • Bora-Bora 

If you’re looking to swim with sharks, rays and an occasional whale sighting, Bora-bora should top off the list. Known for its beautiful diving spots, the French Polynesian island sits on the heart of an extinct volcano known as Mt Otemanu.

Indeed, the island had sprung back from the drop of tourist arrivals in the early 2000s. With its sudden tourism boom, prices for accommodation can range between luxury rooms at $1,000 to grass-thatched villas at $300 dollars a night. Plus if you feel more like exploring the island, you can also hop on a cruise aboard Paul Gaugin, a vessel named after the iconic artist. 

On the other hand, most searches include “all-inclusive” resorts, while Four Seasons and St. Regis tops off the list of the most searched hotel. 

  • Las Vegas

While the desert city is known for its bright lights, crazy performances, wild clubs, and pre-wedding mayhem, it actually attracts a more diverse group of people. Whether it might be young families or a group of friends out for an unforgettable bachelorette party, the city attracts both saints and sinners. 

Oftentimes, most people would search for hotels, flights, shows, and even Craiglist listing (just proceed with utmost caution). 

  • Mexico 

With its tequila tours and delicious food, Mexico is not one of the most widely searched destinations for Americans, it is also the one they are most likely to head off to. And why not? 

It’s close and offers a warm tropical alternative to the cold winters in the U.S.-plus didn’t we mention its also relatively cheap? What’ even more surprising is that a lot of Americans are also settling into the city, as the U.S embassy notes that 1.5 million American citizens have chosen to live there. 

Based on the searches, Google says that more people are interested to fly over international shores. These searches might not be far from reality, with the increasing number of passport holders- surely the tourism industry might expect a busy year ahead. 

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The 20 Mistakes Small Business Make When Filing a Tax Return



One requirement a business should achieve on a yearly basis is filing a tax return. And the last thing you want to happen as a business owner is making mistakes that can result in higher taxes and can cost you interest and penalties or even draw IRS attention to your return.

Luckily, here are the 20 mistakes you should avoid when filing a tax return:

  • Misreporting Income 

The IRS computers can see what has been reported to you, so it is a wise idea to be truthful and give the correct information. 

If you noticed some errors and want correction, you need to report the wrong amount with the proper adjustment and attach an explanation to your return; this way, you will only be taxed on the proper amount. 

  • Failing To Report Income 

Business goods and services that are bartered will be taxed on your account. Whether you trade one-on-one or use the virtual currency to acquire or pay products and services, these transactions must be reported appropriately. Remember that the IRS is always looking closely, even at your virtual currency transactions. 

  • Over Reporting Income 

If your business deals with inventory items, then you must factor in the total price of the goods sold. This way, you do not have to pay tax on the gross receipts from sales. The basis of your income is the difference between the cost of an item and how much you sold it for.

  • Not Applying The Limitation On Deducting Meals 

A business should only deduct 50% of business meals. Certain meals might be a business expense; however, you can only deduct half of the amount.

  • Mixing Personal & Business Spending 

Keeping a separate business bank account and personal account is a wise idea for any business owner to make sure that the business income and expenses are crispy clear.

By doing so, you eliminate oversight, and your return will be more accurate.

  • Not Having A Mileage Record

Your personal vehicle should not be used for business driving. If so, you are then required to take down records as you have to apply deductions for business driving costs. Recordkeeping requirement for this are found in the IRS Publication 463.

  • Thinking That The Home Office Deduction Is A Red Flag For Audit

This belief should not be taken into consideration. Why? If you work from home and you become eligible for the home office deduction, then receive it! Other relevant information about the home office deduction is found on the IRS website. 

  • Tax Errors From Overlooking Pre-Opening Expenses 

You must be able to implement a deduction for startup costs before launching and welcoming your customers through your door. An estimated value of $5,000 should be deducted in your first year of business. However, if your total startup costs exceed $50,000, then special rules may apply. 

  • Not Utilizing Retirement Plans 

By contributing to qualified plans, your current tax bill can be lessened while you save for your future. There are numerous retirement plans; all you have to do is to look and register for one. 

  • Failing To Keep Basis Records 

Business losses that go through to partners and S corporation shareholders can be appealed in their personal returns only up to a particular basis amounts. Without keeping basis records, losses are entirely lost.

  • Overlooking Carryovers

You must be keen on checking your carryovers of the following: capital losses, general business credit, home office deduction, and net operating losses. 

  • Not Gaining Acknowledgements For Charitable Contributions

A donation that exceeds more than $250 must have a written acknowledgment to be qualified for a deduction. Acquire one first before filing for your tax return. 

  • Underpaying Estimated Taxes 

Always bear in mind to factor all your taxes aside from your income tax. This includes self-employment tax and Medicare taxes if you are subjected to it. If a business owner underpays his or her estimated taxes, then he or she can be reprimanded with additional tax penalties. 

  • Not Claiming The Qualified Business Income Deduction 

This personal deduction is under Section 199A, which calls owners of pass-through affiliations. This is also a valuable way to lessen tax liability. 

  • Avoiding Worker Classification 

Do not dodge employer tax obligations by labeling your employees as independent contractors when they are under your umbrella. Watch out for the IRS as they are always on the lookout for these kinds of deeds. And yes! It will cost you big time. 

  • Late To File 

It would be best if you were punctual when filing your tax return. If you are not able to do so, you can always ask for an extension. You do not need to explain your reasons as long as you strictly file by the extended due date. 

  • Failing To Attach Necessary Forms, Election Statements, Or Schedules

Your tax return is not 100% complete if you fail to attach all the paperwork required. 

  • Not Understanding The Differences In Federal & State Tax Rules 

Other tax breaks borders on federal returns and is only limited to state income purposes. For instance, various states have an array of rules when it comes to the Section 170 deduction and bonus reduction. 

  • Not Updating One’s Self On Tax Developments 

Updates in the tax law may warrant you to new tax breaks on your current tax return. They can also permit you to a refund if you submit an amended return. Learn what suits your situation and apply for a refund. 

  • Not Disclosing Everything To Your CPA 

To avoid tax mistakes, you should rely on a tax professional, but also be 100% transparent to avoid penalties. 

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Vizio Establishes Grounds in Ad Business



Vizio Ads, the unit being formed to sell advertising on Vizio’s SmartCast internet-connected TV operating system, seeks to be worked on by about two dozen ad sales executives across the U.S. through 2020. This will reside in the company’s “platform” business alongside Vizio’s TV data operation Inscape, as claimed by Mike O’Donnell, senior vice president of the platform group.

So far, O’Donnell reported Vizio’s six ad sales executives hired as of writing.

The undertaking will propose ad inventory to marketers, such as commercial time on Vizio’s free streaming service WatchFree, and display advertising units on SmartCast’s home, search, and discovery screens. Vizio also has the right to sell some inventory within various ad-supported apps accessed via SmartCast.

Contenders in the connected TV advertising market include over-the-top ad sellers on TV networks, digital video programmers, and tech giants like Inc.. Even TV manufacturers, like Samsung Electronics Co, add in to the heat of the competition.

According to a forecast by ad-buying group Magna, streaming video ad revenue on U.S. TV screens is expected to reach $4.4 billion by 2020, up from $3.4 billion in 2018.

Earning a mid-eight figure including Vizio’s cut of its platform-generated ad and subscription revenue as well as revenue from Inscape’s data deals,  O’Donnell said, “You don’t have to buy a streaming box or a dongle to plug into your Vizio TV,” holding firmly his belief in the connected TVs his company sells.

Potential for connected TV ad sellers seems to present itself in such platform businesses. Roku Inc., one of the largest streaming ad sellers in the market, far surpassed its retail of streaming devices with a generated platform revenue of $481.2 million through the first nine months of 2019.

Today, customers are enjoying an explicit option to share data with Vizio and advertisers, and about 13.2 million users have already opted in, said the company. In addition, O’Donnell said that an ad business could improve tight margins for TV sets, which frequently get sold at a discount.

According to data from market research firm IHS Markit Ltd., Vizio was the second-biggest U.S. TV shipper mid-2019, with a 16.5% market share.

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Unlearning Fear Through the Practice of Mindfulness



Mindfulness is a practice that helps you to focus on what’s happening at the present moment. This practice is becoming more and more popular in recent years because of its many benefits. For many people, practicing mindfulness helps them to be more motivated, more serene, and much calmer when facing the stresses of their day to day lives. 

The studies focusing on the benefits of mindfulness are also increasing. There are pieces of evidence that strengthen what people who practice mindfulness claim. It can indeed bring many good effects not just for our physical health but also for our mental health.

There have been studies that found that the practice of mindfulness can help improve blood pressure control. It also showed to be effective in treating opioid use disorders. Earlier researches have established that mindfulness helps in the treatment of anxiety and depression. 

Now, there’s a new study from universities from Sweden, China, and the US about how mindfulness can help people in unlearning fear responses. Fear, in the evolutionary sense, is a good thing. Fear was able to help early humans to stay away from dangerous situations. However, today, many people deal with learned fear responses. These are mainly counterproductive and unhelpful. 

One example of fear responses is the fear of flying. This phobia can be very challenging to eradicate once it starts. But with the latest research on mindfulness, the researchers suggest that practicing mindfulness can help people unlearn fear responses. 

The study consisted of two groups of people. One group received mindfulness training daily for four weeks. The other group did not. After 4 weeks, the experiment was conducted. The participants were shown images. 

When some of the images were shown, they received mild electric shocks. This way, the participants learned to make an association between the shocks and the images. Whenever the images came up, the research participants experienced increased sweating. This is an indicator of the fight or flight response. 

After the participants established the association, the next step of the researchers was to eliminate the reaction. To do this, the same set of image images were shown but there were no more electric shocks. 

What the researchers found what that the set of people who trained how to practice mindfulness were able to unlearn the fear reaction. The control group still reacted to the images that they have associated with shocks. Researchers determined this through skin conductance measurements. These examined physiological responses to psychological arousal. 

The researchers are currently repeating their experiments on mindfulness and unlearning fear. This time, they will be using an fMRI-scanner. It will allow them to measure the participants’ brain activity to a higher degree of precision in all of the parts of their experiment. 

As for the application of mindfulness, the researchers state that mindfulness practice can be combined with exposure therapy for people dealing with phobias. The treatment effects of this treatment combination may be able to achieve more significant and longer-lasting effects for individuals who have certain fears. 

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